He should've listened to Starscream.

Wait, the tetrajet had said. Let's look for a better landing point, he had said. But Skyfire had been too excited by their find.

And now he was in a fight for his life against a relentless, far stronger opponent than he.

A blizzard.

He got caught in a blizzard, a natural event that he had only read about back on Cybertron.

And why? Because of his blasted curiosity.

Curiosity killed the photovoltaic-cat or so the saying went, he thought wryly.

Starscream and he hadn't detected any signs of sentient life, but there were still signs for the potential for it. A quick composite scan showed that on the planet below there were the elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulfur and Phosphorous: the building blocks of organic creatures.

It was not what they were looking for at all. They had simply been looking for an energy rich planet as part of a research field study they were doing. But this new discovery was so much better! So much possibility! So many things they could learn. The idea of primitive organic life was fascinating.

He wanted to land. He wanted to get a better look.

But he underestimated the planet's atmosphere.

Space was not cold. That was a common misconception. Temperature for all intents and purposes was a measurement of the kinetic energy of matter. Faster moving molecules would produce heat. Particles that were more still would be cooler. But Space was a vacuum. Objects near great heat sources like stars could be hundreds of degrees hot while other objects in deep space could reach below freezing temperatures. But space itself was nothing.

All the same he had shielding to protect himself from solar wind, radiation and other particles that hurtled through space. He was well insulated from the cooling that would happen to a mech in the deep vacuum. He was never at risk for freezing.

His shields felt useless against the natural forces of this planet. He had never experienced weather so violent. There was nothing on Cybertron that even compared to the blizzard bombarding him.

Was it bad that he was both thoroughly intrigued by the event and absolutely terrified out of his mind at the same time?

Priorities, Skyfire, priorities! He cursed himself and with a great burst of his engines tried shooting back up into the atmosphere.

He promptly hit violent turbulence and was flung off course.

Never had he felt so cold. It was a deep, piercing, wet cold. A quick frantic chemical analysis was telling him H2O was the cause. Frozen particles of water were the current threat.

As were the winds blowing several metric tons of force at him. He couldn't see as there was a wall snow pelting him from all sides. The ice began to creep over his sensors despite his best efforts to defrost them. Primus, the crystalline particles were beginning to build in his thrusters. He was losing control. The magnetism of the planet's poll was skewing his instruments. He was blind.

How he hoped Starscream wasn't anywhere near this mess. Upon entering the atmosphere the winds were strong enough to separate the two but the snow storm was not something Skyfire had been thrown into until a bit of time later. Starscream may have been the more skilled flyer, the faster of the two for sure, but his build was not as sturdy as Skyfire's larger frame. This storm would beat the hell out of the seeker.

Warning systems were flashing on his HUD. They were screaming at him about the dangers of the creeping frost, and of the massive amount of energy he was expending simply to stay upright (at least he thought he was upright. It was getting increasingly difficult to tell). He was being knocked out of the sky. The winter storm was over powering and flinging him around like he was nothing.

It was incredible the absolute power of this planet. The churning abiotic forces were phenomenal! He wished he could study it further. He wished he could find out what systems were colliding to make such an unstable and colossal storm. Maybe not as up close and personal as he currently was.

It was amazing. It was awe inspiring. It was humbling.

It was terrifying.

Slag, he was going to die.

And then he could see the ground. The only reason for that was the fact that it was literally right in front of him and fast approaching. The ice was still assaulting him from all sides. He was going too fast and could not pull up. His HUD was screaming at him about the damage, the imminent collision.

He braced for impact.

00000000

Skyfire jolted out of recharge and immediately sat up.

He looked around wildly almost expecting to be back in the crystalline tomb of snow.

But he wasn't. The cold he felt was just a phantom sensation. In fact it was quite warm where he was. There were no walls of white around him. Just the bold orange of the ARK's medical bay.

All the same he shivered.

It had been a dream. Actually a memory would be a more apt description. A memory of the day everything had permanently changed.

"Oh, good, you're up."

Skyfire looked down to see Ratchet.

"I apologize. Was I out for long?" He asked. He did not remember losing consciousness.

Several hours ago he had been pulled from the Ice a second time by Wheeljack. Not long after he was thrown into a battle. When they returned to the Ark Skyfire had been dragged off to medical by Ratchet. Standard procedure for new recruits.

Right. He was an Autobot now.

He was in an army. Skyfire was not sure how he felt about that quite yet.

"No, and it was better that you recharged." Ratchet waved a hand dismissively. "You've been under a lot of strain these past couple of days. The more you rest the better your systems will heal."

"Still, considering that I was in stasis for such a long time recharge is the last thing I feel like doing," Skyfire mentioned honestly.

"Considering how long you were trapped in the ice you are still in remarkably good condition," Ratchet explained. "Your shielding systems, coupled with the frost that had built up around you, kept you insulated and because of that your energon didn't freeze or crystallize. Which is great. The last thing anyone needs iare frozen spurs tearing up their tubing. Anyway, some of your sensors were damaged but I managed to fix those. Also fixed the damage you received from getting shot at before you were frozen again. Primus, Wheeljack's an idiot. He should've sent you straight to me after Sideswipe got you out of the ice. "

Skyfire blinked slowly in incomprehension. "Sideswipe? Who is that? I thought Wheeljack got me out."

Ratchet gave him an annoyed look and crossed his arms. "When the ice was thin enough Wheeljack was able to break apart the remaining layer surrounding you with a concentrated laser, but Sideswipe was the one who spent four hours digging you out of the snow before he could do that."

Thinking back Skyfire could remember a red mech standing behind the engineer. He had seemed a bit worn down though. Kind of shiny. Probably from the dusting of ice fragments he was covered in which most likely came from digging him out of the ice, and wow. Skyfire couldn't remember saying a single word to him.

Now he felt kind of bad. Well more bad then he had been feeling. He had shot at the Autobots, lost his best friend, technically lost his planet and way of life, got refrozen and then, to top it all off, apparently had been rather rude to the mech he partly owed his not ice-covered existence to. And all this in what felt like hours of time (if you ignored the days he spent refrozen).

His existence felt pretty crummy as of late. He could feel his whole disposition deflate.

And it must have looked pretty depressing because Ratchet sort of gave him a pitied look.

"Whatever. Don't be worried that you offended the idiot. It takes a lot to actually get to him. Attention span of a gnat, that one," The medic grouched but there was a hint of fondness in his voice.

Skyfire was about to ask what a gnat was but was interrupted when Ratchet looked past Skyfire's shoulder to address someone new.

"Prowl." Ratchet gave a terse nod.

"What is his status?" Prowl queried as he entered their space.

Ratchet eyed Skyfire askance. Skyfire sat up a little straighter on the berth under observation.

"Eh, he's fine. I'd prefer if he'd be allowed some rest and proper refueling. Stasis, no matter for how long, isn't a substitute for a proper recharge. Also I would prefer if he didn't fly anywhere for a while until his wounds have been given some time to heal. He should not have been sent in the field today as it was. He had been frozen. Who knows the kind of damage that could have been done to him?" Ratchet glared at Prowl.

"It was unfortunate but necessary," was the even response. "However I will keep your medical advice in mind."

"I'm serious, Prowl," Ratchet's voice was taking on a tone of warning. "If you break him I will break you."

Skyfire's gaze snapped toward Ratchet in surprise at the threat. He was not all that familiar with military protocol but threatening a superior with physical harm seemed like it would be high on the list of what not to do.

Prowl barely seemed phased."Duly noted. However I do not require him for a mission. I simply intend to show him his new quarters. Now, Skyfire, would you mind coming with me?"

"Alright," The large shuttle said nervously. He slid off the berth and walked up to the police car. Prowl responded by turning away and heading toward the exit of medical. It took a moment but Skyfire trekked after him.

"I'm serious! No flying for at least the next 24 hours!" the medic hollered as the two left.

So Skyfire trailed quietly after Prowl through the halls. It took about five nerve-wracking minutes before Prowl actually said anything to him though.

Skyfire was kind of anxious. Prowl was a difficult mech to read. From what Skyfire had observed the officer was very much ruled by logic and seemed to take reasonable thought first and foremost before taking action. He also seemed to be the kind of mech that could get things done with a sort of calculated ruthlessness that made the scientist somewhat uneasy. Partly because Skyfire wasn't entirely sure where he stood with the mech and Prowl wasn't exactly making that knowledge easy.

For all Skyfire knew Prowl may have hated him for his role in putting both the Autobots and those two humans at risk not too long ago. Prowl may have been simply too professional to let it show.

"You have more than proven yourself as an Autobot," Prowl began finally. "And I do sympathize with your situation."

Maybe Skyfire's concern was unfounded after all.

" However," Prowl continued and Skyfire tensed a bit, "due to the fact that you did fire upon Autobots with malicious intent the first time we encountered you, you will be in a probationary period. Logically we understand you are not truly a threat now. You were fed faulty information after a rather traumatic ordeal and acted under considerable duress. Understand that this is simply standard procedure. However I honestly expect no further issues and as far as I am concerned you are now on our side."

"That's reasonable." Skyfire sighed.

In hindsight he still couldn't believe he actually had done that, the whole shooting at everyone thing. Yes, he had been on ice for a good few million years and that had made his circuits a little numb. Yes he had to deal with somewhat of an information overload and a dizzying set of circumstance. However he still could not believe, upon reflection, that he had actually fired upon other Cybertronians without having more information on the situation. He had simply acted on the Decepticons' word that the Autobots were evil and a threat.

On Starscream's word.

That was no excuse. He should not have been so ready to inflict harm on another life as he had been. He was supposed to be a scientist, someone with an analytical mind. He should have questioned the information more but he hadn't and he would live with that mistake. He was ashamed of himself for that and probably would be for a fair amount of time. Actually probably for a very long time.

Honestly he was getting off easy. His act of self sacrifice may have sort of, kind of redeemed him a bit in the optics of the other Autobots but there were still quite a few mechs who were understandably upset by Skyfire's addition to the team.

Most likely due to his phenomenally brief stint as a Decepticon. Probably more for shooting at everyone.

The minibot Cliffumper in particular had been giving him the evil eye when he was presented to the rest of the Ark.

Prowl had come to a sudden halt in front of him. Distractedly Skyfire almost plowed right into him but luckily snapped out of his ponderings to avoid that. Even without ill intent behind it, given his mass, he would've probably knocked the Praxian clear across the room. That probably would not have been good since technically he was in a probationary period aimed to prove his lack of ill intent toward the Autobots.

"These will be your acting quarters for now until we find you something more suitable. Over the next several days we will try to get you as acclimated to Earth and current events as possible. You have a lot of catching up to do unfortunately." With that Prowl sort of shoved two data pads at Skyfire. The shuttle sort of fumbled with them for a moment. They were absurdly tiny in his hands, made for much smaller mechs than he.

"Um," Skyfire started eloquently, "May I ask what these are?"

"That one," Prowl pointed at one of the pads, "Is the Autobot code. If you are truly to be one of us it is important that you understand the rules of conduct, and our laws."

"Alright." That sounded rational enough. Out of curiosity Skyfire flipped the data pad on and was immediately stunned by what he saw. "This says… This says it's ten thousand pages long."

He looked down at Prowl both in horror and for some kind of confirmation from Prowl that his optics weren't malfunctioning from his stint as a popsicle.

Prowl's face was frustratingly blank, and insipidly the officer pointed to the other data pad. "That one is an archive of key historical events that have occurred over the last several millennia. It includes information on some of the factors that lead to the war we are currently engaged in along with many of the events that befell Cybertron and… unfortunately other locales during that time."

Temporarily forgetting the daunting behemoth that was the Autobot code Skyfire looked at the archive pad sullenly.

Right. War. He kept forgetting that was a thing despite the fact that it kept getting shoved in his face. But somehow it didn't seem real still despite the glaring evidence that was pretty much everywhere.

Soldiers. Military procedure. Getting shot by…

He shut that thought down before it could begin.

"I would try getting through them as quickly as possible though there is not really a time frame for the completion of this task. It would simply be easier for you in the long run to have a full, working understanding of the situation we are currently in. It will help us in avoiding any new mishaps. Do you have any questions?"

"Not currently, no," Skyfire mumbled.

That was a lie. A massive, glaring lie. He had millions of questions but he supposed it would be best to wait until he researched the issue more. Then if there were still gaps in the knowledge after perusing the history supplied to him he would ask.

"I understand it is a lot," Prowl admitted.

Did Skyfire detect a hint of sympathy in the Second in Command's voice?

He observed Prowl's flat expression and steely optics.

No, Skyfire concluded, he had not. That was probably his imagination.

"It is perfectly fine," Skyfire assured. "Back on Cybertron I had to review some articles that could probably give these a run for their money." He offered a smile.

To which Prowl did not smile back.

Lightening of the mood? No? Going to stare impassively at the big shuttle until he squirms in discomfort? Oh, ok then.

Skyfire's smile wilted off his face.

Prowl hit the panel by the door and the entrance to the room slid open.

"If you have any questions feel free to radio either Jazz or me. We will do our best to accommodate you. Until then I will let you get familiarized with your new quarters. We will notify you when you are officially put on the roster for duty."

With that Prowl turned and left Skyfire standing awkwardly in the hall with the two ridiculously tiny data pads.

00000

Makeshift.

That was a good way to describe the room.

It was an unused office. It wasn't huge but had plenty of space. It was bigger than the barracks he'd be too large to fit in. However it was obvious the Autobots weren't used to mechs of his size. The only things in the room were the two recharge berths kind of pushed together which was where he ended up sitting before activating one of the data pads. He ignored the Autobot code in favor of the military records regarding the history of the war.

The last several days had been a flurry of activity, and stress. What with the waking up from being frozen for a few million years, ending up in a couple firefights after a long peaceable existence of never even picking up a gun before, getting refrozen, and then ending up in more firefights. Understandably his thoughts and instincts had been primarily focused on not dying.

A rather worthy pursuit.

But finally everything was starting to hit him. War. Cybertron. Decepticons and Autobots.

He wanted to know.

So he began to read.

He had braced himself. It was civil war after all. It would be bad.

After getting through the first few pages, Skyfire realized that bad may have been an understatement.

The city states of Vos and Tarn had destroyed each other with photon missiles some time before the Decepticon minor uprising turned into all out war.

Primus, Vos was Starscream's city. It was… had been… home to most of the seekers. He could remember his former colleague telling him tales of the famed spires that reached so high they seemed to touch the stars. Starscream had told him of balconies and floating oasis that only fliers could reach. Starscream had spoken of the city with such a fondness. He loved his home. He had been proud of his home.

Skyfire wondered if that's when Starscream decided to turn to war.

Numbly he read on.

He read of a miner rising to glory and fame in the Gladiator pits of Kaon. And with that notoriety he amassed an army. He spoke against the caste system, against those in the upper echelons of society that seemed to rule the few.

You are being deceived, was his rallying cry.

And his words spread; the masses who believed in him began to call themselves Decepticons to forever uphold those words.

Skyfire had wondered why they called themselves the Decepticons. Apparently it wasn't a self descriptive term for their faction's lack of honesty (which in hindsight would've been silly)

Instead the gladiator, Megatron, offered a vision of a world where all were equal. A world where one's worth was proven not by what they were constructed to be, instead by their strength and will to be would be the deciding factors of one's fate.

The price for this world would be a tyrannical dictatorship.

Iacon tried to stop him. The Prime at the time, Sentinel Prime, was slaughtered in the effort.

And that's when Optimus Prime rose to stop him. The Autobot leader too had apparently been disenchanted by the broken system but offered a different approach. He offered one of equality under freedom.

The two sides clashed.

The first three cities to have fallen after Vos, and Tarn were Helex, Kaon, and Tesarus apparently.

Praxus, home of the famed helix crystal gardens, had been essentially carpet bombed not long after. That would've been Prowl's city. And there were at least two other Autobots Skyfire could remember seeing who shared his frame. It would be an awful thing to lose your city.

And it was Skyfire realized after reading about the destruction of his own.

Altihex, home of the greatest Science Academies and research centers on Cybertron, had been burned out from a devastating raid.

But Skyfire couldn't even be properly horrified by that fact simply because the list went on.

It was all terrible. Skyfire was almost unable to comprehend the horror of what he had been reading.

Millions were dead. Many more were still dying. He read about the destruction of Cybertronian cultural artifacts and wonders. He read about scientific developments, ones that had seemed so promising at a time that felt not too long ago to Skyfire, coming to a grinding halt while war technologies designed to maim, and murder Cybertronians flourished. The ones who developed them, Primus, he had recognized some of those names. They had been great minds who in his time strove toward peaceful research to better improve the lives of Cybertronians. Now there they were in the files, some marked as Autobots, others as Decepticons, all recorded for making monstrosity aimed to mutilate and destroy as many of the opposing side as possible.

He read about the scars running deep in Cybertron from battles and bombings and war. He read about the one that scored the planet far more deeply than the others to point that it bled lethal radiation and exposed many to a rare devastating radioactive isotope.

But it also revealed veins of energy rich material, something that was desperately needed by the resource strapped armies. The location quickly became the most deadly battlefield on Cybertron early in the war. It was named Ra'el.

A word from the Primal Vernacular, or old Cybertronian, something that Skyfire was not too terribly familiar with. The closest he was able to translate it to in modern language was the lands burned by the sickened air.

That sounded awful.

And the list of atrocities and tragedies just mounted, seemingly no end in sight. And it just raged on and on until the planet could take no more. Until there was no energy left and the planet simply went dark.

Skyfire's head ached. His spark ached.

And eventually it was too much. Skyfire was horrified. He was speechless. He understood that the caste systems on Cybertron had been a problem. He was not from the high class but as a scientist had been afforded a certain amount of freedom and stability many in the lower classes were not.

He also knew that the energy situation on Cybertron was also a growing threat. It was partly why he and Starscream even did that deep space exploration mission in the first place! But how had it come to this? How had it led to an all out war that accomplished nothing more than leading their species to the brink of extinction and the destruction of their home?

And what was the point of it all now? Hadn't the war been for Cybertron? For its people?

And he missed all of it while these mechs he was currently with, these Autobots, had endured it for eons.

While Starscream had endured this war. No wonder the seeker had changed after so much time. How could he not after being exposed to the ravages of war?

"Are you happier being a warrior than a scientist, Starscream?" he had asked.

"Yes," Starscream had answered with genuine joy in his voice. "It is far more exciting."

That made Skyfire's energon run cold with dismay.

All this fighting, so much had changed. And what for? For Cybertron? For a disagreement on the autonomy of Cybertronians?

It didn't seem like there was much left to fight over.

And here he was. A mech lost in time. He wasn't a soldier like all the other occupants of the Ark were. He wasn't a warrior. He had no combat training. He was too large to be an effective medic. He lacked the bloodlust required to take another mechs life and had no desire to create things that would do the same. He had been able to pretend at it for a day or two but it was all just hitting him. How had he even been able to use that blasted rifle the Decepticons had given him? That was the first time he had ever held a weapon!

Vector Sigma, he didn't belong. What use was he to the Autobots?

Come to think of it, the only reason they bothered to dig him out of the ice was because they needed a ride.

Well, that was a pleasant thought.

What was he doing here?

Skyfire let the data pad fall out of his loose grip and it clattered onto one of the berths. He dropped his face into his hands. He thought of Cybertron, of Altihex and of old friends both dead and living. He thought of how even though he was surrounded by mechs he was utterly alone.

He let himself grieve.

000000

He woke when he heard a knock at his door.

He sat up from his awkward position on the berths and immediately felt the strain of kinked neck cables and pinched shoulder struts. The two berths were wide enough to accommodate his width but too short for his height. His legs hung over the edges and he had been half falling off of the thing apparently.

He didn't remember falling into recharge but his self repair was still draining a bit of his energy.

That and reading up on the complete and total destruction of one's home world because of civil war apparently was a fairly draining activity.

There was another knock.

Right. He probably needed to get that. Could be Prowl. Or Ratchet.

He slowly stood from the berth and stretched feeling stiff cables and struts realign and crack in delightful ways. His wings hitched and righted themselves and finally he walked to the door.

It slid open. Skyfire peaked out and saw…nothing.

Ok.

"Hey there!" said a cheery voice.

His observation was apparently incorrect.

Skyfire blinked and looked down still not used to the fact that he was no longer around other shuttles and flyers. He wasn't quite used to how short most of the Autobots were in comparison. Ground models were always far more compact.

And standing there was the red mech from before. The one he caught on the battlefield earlier when they had to deal with those… Insecticons? Right, they had been called Insecticons.

The Inseticons which Skyfire was begrudged to admit were actually really cool from a scientific standpoint. They were Cybernetic beings that had adapted and reformatted their own systems to accommodate a new way of life. To survive they were able take on the ability of ingesting organic matter. That was simply unheard of. It was fascinating.

But they were still horrible. They were scientifically interesting, yes, but nasty little things all the same.

And his mind was digressing again.

He had seen this red mech before though. He had been thrown by Megatron; Skyfire was able to catch him that was true. But he had seen this Bot before the battle. But from where? When? He pondered it for a moment. Then it hit him.

Oh. Ohhhh.

It was the mech that dug him out of the ice. The one Skyfire had inadvertently slighted despite the red one's efforts.

He was short. Well kinda tall for a ground type but he barely came up to Skyfire's elbow joints. And he was… pretty. Really pretty actually and that was an objective observation. His optics were kind of an interesting shade of violet blue too. What was used to make the optic glass that color? Oxidized manganese? Selenium? Maybe something else entirely.

Aaaand Skyfire had been staring. For an uncomfortably long amount of time.

"Oh, hello," Skyfire said a little timidly.

"Skyfire, right?" the mech grinned, seeming not put off by Skyfire's momentary lapse into chemistry ponderings.

"What? Oh. Uh, yes. That is my designation," Skyfire responded and wow. Apparently all his social skills got left in the ice. He was sounding like a moron.

He was surprised that anyone was seeking him out, and had more than a little apprehension.

"I'm Sideswipe," the mech declared brightly and held out a hand. "I just realized that I never had the chance to introduce myself. The first time we met was kinda weird. And really the second time, well introductions aren't a big priority when Megatron's trying to make you into paste."

"Understandable. I remember Ratchet mentioning you actually. I think I owe you a bit of gratitude and an apology. I had thanked Wheeljack for my rescue from the ice when I first got out, but now I understand you had done most of the work. Thank you for that," Skyfire said earnestly. And then he stared at the other's outstretched hand in incomprehension, not entirely sure what he was supposed to do with the gesture.

An unreadable expression flitted across the red warrior's face as he dropped his hand.

Skyfire he felt like he was missing something

"I forget. You wouldn't be up to speed on Earth customs," he said softly, tone amused. And with that the soldier shrugged. "Anyway, it was no problem. Besides you kinda saved me too today. Gotta admit I'm not used to that. Usually I'm pulling everyone else's afts out of the fire. We can call it even, yeah?"

"Certainly," Skyfire agreed happily.

There was a beat where nothing more was said. The red bot looked completely at ease, content to stand at the door with his hands on his hips while he waited for- well, something. Skyfire on the other hand was feeling increasingly self-conscious.

The shuttle leaned forward just a bit so he could get a better look out in the hall to see if there was anyone else present. It was barren. No one else was out there. So he rolled back on to his heels and looked down at the mech, at Sideswipe, and asked, "Was I needed for something?"

Maybe Sideswipe was supposed to summon him for something. Perhaps to talk with Prime or Prowl. That would make sense he supposed.

"Nope," he answered blithely. "Just dropped by to say hey. Were you busy?"

"Not at all. It's just I am… a little bit surprised actually. Most of the other's are giving me a bit of… space," Skyfire explained carefully.

Avoiding him like a corrosive plague was more like it.

"Well when your first words to everyone are 'Autobots! You must be destroyed!'Things are gonna be pretty awkward for a while." Sideswipe shrugged.

Skyfire's face fell. Boy, this one was a blunt one, wasn't he?

Skyfire buried his face in his hands and groaned in complete embarrassment. "I still cannot believe I said that."

"To be fair you sort of missed the entire war and you know Decepticons tend to be a little bit on the deceiving side." Sideswipe slapped his arm consolingly as he marched past Skyfire and into the room. "They'll get over it."

Skyfire blinked owlishly at the mech who sort of just invited himself in. "Uh. Excuse me. What are you-"

"So is this where you're going to be set up?" Sideswipe was giving the place a once over.

"Uh, I suppose. Yes. For the foreseeable future anyway."

"Neat. It's roomy. A bit on the empty side. "

And it was true. There wasn't much in the room so far. Just the two recharge berths sort of shoved together and the two abandoned data pads.

And he hadn't brought that much with him on the expedition. There were a few items he had in subspace but everything else he owned, well, that had been on Cybertron. In Altihex.

Meaning none of it probably survived.

Skyfire wasn't materialistic but he couldn't help but frown. It was so surreal knowing his home was for all intents and purposes gone. He hadn't really thought about that in too great of detail. It sort of hurt to think about.

And when he looked up Sideswipe was frowning too. But when their optics made contact again Sideswipe's face lit up. A brilliant smile split across his face and he moved the conversation along seamlessly, "But don't worry. This planet has some neat stuff. Trust me. In a few days you'll start collecting the weirdest crap from this place. Anything you need we can probably scrounge up. Anyway, how do you like the room?"

"It is perfectly fine. Prowl figured that converting one of the unused offices into a room would be easier than me staying in the barracks I suppose. I don't exactly fit through the doors that easily," he explained feeling more and more at ease. The red mech's easy going-ness was apparently contagious.

"If you ask Wheeljack he can probably slap together a desk or something. Probably a shelf your size. Building stuff like that's fun to him. Just don't let him start improving anything." Sideswipe leapt up onto one of the berths and sat on the edge. He kicked his legs idly.

"Improving?" Skyfire asked somewhat bewildered.

"He's good at what he does," Sideswipe explained. "Just sometimes he gets too creative."

"Ah, I see."

Another silence.

"So, I guess what are you up too?"

"Well I'm not on the roster," Skyfire said, tone contemplative. "I just have some reading I suppose I should get through given to me by Prowl. I just needed… a break."

Sideswipe frowned again but didn't press the issue.

"If you're bored," Sideswipe began, tone light and somewhat conspiratorial sounding, "You could help me with something."

"Help?" Skyfire asked honestly curious. "Help with what?"

"The humans invented this little, cylindrical plastic device made for holding liquid beverages. They're called Dixie cups. I have procured roughly 200,000 of these and need help filling them with water."

Skyfire stared at Sideswipe, completely bewildered. "Why?"

"To put them everywhere," was the response.

Skyfire still didn't understand. "Why?"

"I think it would be funny."

"That sounds, obnoxious," Skyfire responded bluntly.

"Kind of the point," Sideswipe happily supplied.

And then Skyfire's mood took a dramatic nosedive.

The red mech wanted him to help with playing a trick on the others.

Skyfire should've known. This was all probably some kind of hazing type thing. He was new blood after all, also somewhat of a pariah at the moment. He had met mechs like Sideswipe before. Mechs who were disarmingly charming and charismatic and they were able to manipulate those around them as a result. He probably thought that Skyfire would be an easy target to influence and rope into his schemes.

Skyfire sighed bitterly. He should have known better. But there would be no need to be hostile. This mech after all had played a role in saving him.

With slightly more hardened optics he finally answered, "Unfortunately I have to decline. Taking part in your joke would not be wise for me at the moment. I apparently am on a bit of a probationary period at this time. I really should not do anything that would risk my standing with Prowl. I also apparently have a few thousand pages of Autobot code to get through."

He expected the warmth from the other mech's face to drain off into irritation or into something cold at being rebuked. He expected hostility.

To his complete surprise Sideswipe's grin only got bigger.

"That's ok," Sideswipe said blithely, not a hint of spite in his words. "Just figured I'd ask since I was going to do it anyways and you seemed to need a distraction."

"Oh," Skyfire responded somewhat at a loss. That was, uh, not the response he had been expecting.

"See ya around, Skyfire." Sideswipe hopped off the berth and traipsed to the door before disappearing into the hall. After a beat black fingers curled around door frame and Sideswipe was peaking in again. "One more thing. If you ask Wheeljack he can probably give you the abridged version of the Autobot code."

"There's an abridged version?" Skyfire gaped.

"Well yeah. Have you met this crew? Do you honestly think any of them could actually get through the whole thing? I don't think even Prime's been able to do it. The abridged copy's still like 600 pages long but still."

"I had no idea."

"Yeah. No one reads the official copy. Well actually I did."

Skyfire's optics widened in complete and utter shock at that statement. "You did?"

This was the mech Ratchet said had the attention span of a gnat.

Whatever a gnat was…

"Yup," Sideswipe affirmed. "Can't toe the line if I don't know where the line is. Anyway, I'll see ya around. That line I just mentioned is demanding my presence," he declared impishly and then disappeared for real.

And Skyfire stared dumbly at his door. Even long after said door slid quietly shut.

He began to analyze the situation.

That had been unexpected, but most likely an anomaly.

Perhaps the charismatic mech hadn't had any malicious intent in seeking out Skyfire. However it had probably been a onetime thing. Especially after Skyfire refusing to assist him in his little plan their interactions would probably be limited to passing in the halls or shared shifts.

Skyfire figured that be the end of it.

It was not.